Friendly Fridays: Neighbors, Not House Guests

Black bears (Ursus americanus) are incredibly strong, smart, and determined. They can easily get into plastic bins like this one, so consider using metal bear bins if you live in bear country!

“One species’ trash is another species’ treasure.” Maybe that’s not quite how the old saying goes, but it certainly still holds true. All sorts of animals will rummage through human trash. Have ever you seen the occasional raccoon, opossum, or skunk rifling around one of your bins at night? The same opportunity exists for larger animals that we don’t want coming around our homes: coyotes and black bears.

Coyotes and black bears have incredibly keen noses — coyotes have a keener sense of smell than your average dog, while black bears have a sense of smell 7 times stronger than that of a bloodhound’s! Though they naturally avoid humans, it’s hard to repeatedly ignore appetizing scents wafting over from someone’s trash can, and the last thing we want is to have a coyote or black bear persistently sniffing around your house looking for dinner.

If you live near wild areas, or even in the suburbs, practice wildlife-conscious trash habits. Tie up garbage bags tight and use secure lids on your garbage bins to minimize odors from escaping. It’s also a good idea to keep food refuse in the house until the morning of your trash collection day; perhaps not as convenient, but well worth the peace of mind!

Aaron Huelsman

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